Tony & Margaret

Tony tells the story of his wife, Margaret's, diagnosis and surgery for pancreatic cancer.

20 June 2017

Margaret was diagnosed in April 2012 and was treated by an outstanding team at hospital.

Margaret had her Whipple’s procedure in April 2012 followed by chemotherapy as part of the ESPAC-4 trial. Immediately following chemotherapy and then radiotherapy.

Two good years followed which enabled us to see a new grandchild in Arizona and one in the UK. Her first recurrence meant a second operation in May 2014. Both operations were extensive and required vein resections.

The second operation involving removing the remaining pancreas and spleen was unusual and we were told we faced a challenging lifestyle. This was certainly true. The consultants couldn’t advise on what to expect and said we would become our own experts.

As time went on we needed help with glucose control. Margaret’s body was continually changing in its requirement for insulin. As time progressed we used our own knowledge and gave insulin in response to blood glucose levels rather than calculating in advance.

Many different problems needed to be solved. One was getting treatment for small bowel bacterial overgrowth which if we had managed this earlier would have saved many months of acute diarrhoea.

Margaret survived 5 years from first diagnosis. During this time she was determined to get the best out of every day. We spent a total of eight months with family in USA and she was able to meet 3 new grandchildren.

She always said you couldn’t fight the cancer, you just had to deal with it. It was never a cloud over our lives even though we knew what the final outcome would be.

June 2017